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Intel, Dell Among IT Firms Buying Considerable "Green Power"

Despite the skepticism about companies going “carbon neutral” — particularly if firms rely on renewable energy credits, which can be controversial and hard to verify — companies and organizations that are purchasing green power should be lauded. The system isn’t perfect but hey, they’re making a real effort. And the IT industry, which has faced a lot of finger-pointing, is actually forging ahead faster than many others, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Top 50 Green Power Purchasers.

The list is led by Intel (s INTC), which buys 1.3 billion kWh per year, or 46 percent of its total electricity use. Dell (s DELL) follows closely in the fourth spot in terms of annual green power usage — with 553.71 million kWh per year — but surprisingly buys more green power than its total electricity use, with 158 percent green power compared to total electricity use. Five other IT and telecom companies made the cut, including Cisco (s CSCO), Sprint (s S), Sony (s SNE), Motorola (s MOT) and AMD (s AMD).

Often a green power purchase doesn’t necessarily mean installing a solar panel behind the company’s HQ. The EPA lists a green power purchase as either a Renewable Energy Certificate, on-site clean power generation, or a utility green power product. As this Wall Street Journal article points out for Dell’s carbon neutral claims, RECs can be hard to verify, so it can be disturbing when a company like Dell uses RECs to neutralize a good portion of its carbon footprint. We talked to Tod Arbogast, Dell’s director of sustainable business, at the recent Fortune Brainstorm Green conference, and he said because there just isn’t enough clean power generation in the U.S. yet, RECs are a necessary part of going carbon neutral.

5 Responses to “Intel, Dell Among IT Firms Buying Considerable "Green Power"”

  1. The information technology field is one of the fastest growing fields in our economy today. New computers seem to come out each week promoting faster speeds and more RAM . I am glad that Dell and some other IT forms are finally seeing the light and purchasing more green power. Though the purchase of REC’s may be only a tiny step forward to going more green, it is a step in the right direction in my mind. Apple also has been currently promoting it’s new “Green” Macbooks, though their machines are very much in the niche market. Regardless, it is excellent news to see IT markets embracing a sustainable model. As computers become more vital to our lives, it becomes an even greater cause for them to be environmentally friendly.

    Many universities around the country, such as the Institute of Global Sustainablty at the University of Vermont, are embracing this idea of sustainable business are committed to providing resources to citizens and students alike for a better environmental future. You can learn more at